Christmastime in Philadelphia: Top things to do this holiday season in the city

We're in the holiday spirit, so this Top 6 has expanded to 9!

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Friday, December 23, 2022
More fun holiday things to do around Philly
Jessica Boyington finishes her tour of top spots to find holiday cheer in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Philadelphia! So I took a tour of some of the holiday fun around the area. Just call on Rudolph to lead the way!

The Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market in Dilworth Park is a winter wonderland of shops filled with local crafters, jewelers, and designers, stocked with anything you could possibly want this Christmas.

When you're done exercising your wallet, (and if you're feeling brave), you can rent some skates and try your luck on the Rothman Rink.

Tickets are on sale now for Luminature, the annual exhibit that brings the Philadelphia Zoo to light, with millions of twinkling decorations covering the zoo grounds.

See the penguins, gorillas, flamingos and all your wildlife favorites surrounded by gorgeous displays - it's holiday fun for all ages!

On Fridays and Saturdays, the Sofitel is hosting a Holiday High Tea for Philly's finest folks.

All the scones, sandwiches, and sweets are made right in-house and arranged beautifully on three yummy tiers.

I had some teeny tiny chicken salad sandwiches, mini olive loaves with creamy feta cheese spread, and crab and andouille sausage quinoa cups. They also perfected how to make classic scones with strawberry preserves and lemon curd to smother all over it, and the flourless chocolate cake tasted like gooey brownie batter.

Besides traditional teas brewed with flavors of apple and cinnamon, they have special cocktails to complete your experience like a martini with bourbon, black tea, egg whites, lemon juice, chai simple syrup, and blackberry reduction...and of course, a bubbly glass of champagne!

Top 6 holiday activities in Philadelphia: Part 1 with Jessica Boyington.

For the entire month of December, Miracle on South 13th Street is a Philly stop that's personally one of my favorite ways to get into the Christmas spirit. For over 20 years, the residents on the 1600 block have iconically decorated every square inch with twinkly lights and holiday flair. No tickets are required, all you need to do is walk or drive, right down the street for some neighborhood fun.

Winter in Franklin Square featuring the Electrical Spectacle light show is centered around the 180-year-old fountain in the middle of the park. The light show is accompanied by holiday music and runs every day, every 30 minutes, from 5 p.m. to close. Play a round of mini golf or take a spin on the carousel if you're not ready to call it a night.

Christmas Village is an authentic holiday German market spread over LOVE Park and City Hall. Shop over 100 wooden booths selling jewelry, arts and crafts and endless displays of ornaments. When you're feeling indulgent, try one of their several vendors with drinks and snacks - maybe spring for some French toast bites - then walk the kids over to the Ferris wheel or the carousel to end your day with smiles.

Jessica Boyington is not done with her Christmas activities list just yet!

Harper's Garden is a new American farm-to-table restaurant with a seasonally changing menu. The outside of the toasty winter greenhouse matches the holiday garden theme on the inside for a classy holiday dining experience. The cocktails and their earthy garnishes are a collaborative effort by all the bartenders that make some of the best drinks in the city. The winter food menu offers a chargrilled salmon filet with parsnip pear puree topped with root vegetables, and a crab bucatini with brandied lobster butter sauce, parmesan, sage, and Japanese spices.

Uptown Beer Garden has done it again, transforming its outdoor space into U-Ville, a play on the Dr. Suess classic. Every inch of the venue that isn't covered with characters from Whoville is wrapped in string lights and the occasional Grinch. The drinks are themed too! The "Canned Goods" is a cranberry mule in a soup can. "You're A Mean One", is a sangria that holds up to its name. I grabbed some pulled pork sliders with coleslaw, loaded baked potato soup, and mini apple cider donuts to wash it all down.

Prime Rib at Live! Casino Philadelphia created a holiday popup bar that's the winter wonderland in your steakhouse dreams. There's a special menu at this bar too, with clams casino elevated with crab meat, shrimp cocktail, a twist on brunch with over easy eggs and a thick cut of bacon with thinly shaved black truffles. The braised short rib with red wine, wild mushrooms, and crispy shallots knocked my taste buds into another world, but the "Winter In Paradise" sent them right to an island with its mix of Japanese vodka, fresh coconut syrup, lemon, egg white, and coconut shavings.

Jessica Boyington has more Christmas activities for you explore in Philadelphia.

Figo Italian knows how to keep you cozy and warm during the chilliest of winter months. They have fireplaces and igloos for outdoor dining, or you could dine inside next to a wine flight, a heat lamp, and a steamy bowl of homemade! I indulged in classic spaghetti and meatballs, garlic cream fettuccine, a bolognese with a dollop of garlic ricotta, and a lobster pie with vodka sauce. They have spiked steamed eggnog for sipping, and four espresso martinis, on the menu.

Tinsel is back for another year of glittery walls and jingling bells covering every inch of the room from floor to ceiling. There's a life size interactive advent calendar, an Instagram worthy Santa chair, and twelve specialty cocktails for the twelve days of Christmas...and you can keep the cups! with cups you can keep!

McGillins is the oldest bar in Philadelphia. It's packed any day or time of the week throughout the year, and the holidays are no exception. Not only does it look like Christmas exploded in here, but the holiday has taken over the menu too! The mistletoe mule and eggnog martini with nutmeg flurry, and cinnamon sugar rum are the most popular cocktails. Outside of their famous meatloaf, the "yule tide salmon" with white wine butter sauce and "cheerful chicken" with creamy pesto was delicious.